- Ammonium cyanide
Ammonium cyanide Identifiers CAS number PubChem ChemSpider Jmol-3D images Image 1 Properties Molecular formula NH4CN Molar mass 44.0559 g/mol Appearance colourless crystalline solid Density 1.02 g/cm3 Boiling point
Solubility in water very soluble Solubility very soluble in alcohol Related compounds Other anions Ammonium hydroxide
Other cations Sodium cyanide
Related compounds Ammonia
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Except where noted otherwise, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C, 100 kPa)
Ammonium cyanide is an unstable inorganic compound with the formula NH4CN.
Ammonium cyanide is generally used in organic synthesis. Being unstable, it is not shipped or sold commercially.
- HCN + NH3(aq) → NH4CN(aq)
It may be prepared by the reaction of calcium cyanide and ammonium carbonate:
- Ca(CN)2 + (NH4)2CO3 → 2 NH4CN + CaCO3
- KCN + NH4Cl → NH4CN + KCl
Ammonium cyanide decomposes to ammonia and hydrogen cyanide; often forming a black polymer of hydrogen cyanide:
- NH4CN → NH3 + HCN
- NH4CN + (CHO)2 → NH2CH2COOH + HCN
Reactions with ketones yield aminonitriles:
- NH4CN + CH3COCH3 → NH2CH2CH2CH2CN + H2O
The solid or its solution is highly toxic. Ingestion can cause death. Exposure to the solid can be harmful as it decomposes to highly toxic hydrogen cyanide and ammonia.
Elemental composition: H 9.15%, C 27.23%, N 63.55%.
Ammonium cyanide may be analyzed by heating the salt and trapping the decomposed products. hydrogen cyanide and ammonia in water at low temperatures. The aqueous solution is analyzed for cyanide ion by silver nitrate titrimetric method or an ionselective electrode method; and ammonia is measured by titration or electrode technique.
- A. F. Wells, Structural Inorganic Chemistry, 5th ed., Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK, 1984.
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